Headline

A Domain-specific language is "a computer programming languages of limited expressiveness focused on a particular domain." (DSLs - Martin Fowler with Rebecca Parsons) The opposite is a General-purpose language.

Fowler identifies four key elements:

  • Computer programming language: A DSL is used by human users to instruct a computer. It is designed to be easy understandable for humans, but should be executable.
  • Language nature: The DLS should have a sense of fluency, by the way the expressions can be composed together.
  • Limited expressiveness: A DSL supports a bare minimum of language features needed to support its domain.
  • Domain focus: The DSL has a clear focus on a small domain. The domain focus is what makes a limited language worthwhile.
Fowler divides DSLs into three categories:

  • External DSL: A language separated from the host language. It can have a custom syntax or use another languages syntax like language:XML.
  • Internal DSL: A DSL that is constructed using a general-purpose language in a particular way. The DSL uses a small subset of language features, is valid code in the host language, but should feel like a custom language.
  • A Language Workbench is a specialized IDE for constructing DSLs. Additionally it can provide an editing environment for the designed language with features like code completion or refactoring.

Abbreviation

DSL

Metadata

http://martinfowler.com/dsl.html Vocabulary:Software language engineering Concept


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